• Yield: 4 servings

  • Time: 15 minutes prep, 30 minutes cooking, 45 minutes total

When I have no vegetables on hand, I make this soup, which requires only onions and leftover bread. Grated Gruyère, one of my mother’s favorite additions to the soup, is a great flavor enhancer.


  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 4-5 slices leftover bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2-2 1/2 cups)

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil

  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)

  • 5 cups homemade chicken stock or low-salt canned chicken broth

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 cup grated Gruyère or Emmenthaler cheese

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Spread the bread cubes on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown. Set aside.

3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan until hot. Add the onions and cook over high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until nicely browned.

4. Add the stock, salt, and pepper and bring to a strong boil.

5. Meanwhile, drop the baked bread cubes into a large soup tureen and sprinkle the cheese on top.

6. Pour the boiling stock and onion mixture into the soup tureen and mix well. Ladle into soup plates, sprinkle the chives on top, and serve immediately.

Jacques Pépin is a chef, cookbook author and teacher who has published 26 books and hosted 11 public television cooking series. A former columnist for The New York Times, Pépin is a contributing editor to Food & Wine magazine. In 2004 he was awarded the French Legion of Honor. He is also the first recipient of the Julia Child Award. Since 1998 he has been dean of special programs at the French Culinary Institute in New York. Pépin is a founder of the American Institute of Wine and Food.